10450 Friars Road, Mission Valley
One thing the Kensington area is missing is a great sushi restaurant. As lovers of Japanese food, David and I are always on the lookout for a go-to sushi joint. Alas, we’ve yet to find “the one.”
In the meantime, we continue our exploration and make do with what’s available. Our friends Katie and Jordan have a few go-tos, one of which is Jump Tokyo, located in a strip mall off of Friars Road.
The space was warm and welcoming, a casual dining room festooned with kanji-adorned lanterns, ceramic tea sets on shelves, and wooden, nautical-themed decorations (an oar, anchor, etc.) hanging on the wall. We were seated at a four-top by the window, and Katie and Jordan set about ordering their favorite rolls and nigiri.
Most of what they got was pretty standard — spicy tuna with cucumber ($5.50), and for the nigiri (around $4 for two pieces) they chose salmon, tuna, shrimp, etc. But there was one dish on the table I’d never encountered before, and that was the Hot & Hotter’s roll ($11.95). Here, pieces of a spicy tuna and cucumber roll were arranged in a circle and atop them, in the center, was a mountain of spicy scallops topped with a generous heap of masago.
David ordered two rolls. The Kani Hama ($11.95) was yet another spicy tuna and cucumber combination, this one topped with yellowtail and green onion. He also got the San Diego Roll ($11.95) with shrimp tempura, crab, avocado and cucumber inside, and spicy tuna outside.
I only tasted a few pieces from the table, but the consensus was that all the seafood tasted clean and fresh, the spice of the tuna was well balanced, and each roll had been prepared with care. The tempura was crispy enough, the eel sauce was daintily drizzled and not overly cloying, and the slices of fish included in the nigiri were of standard quality, though not sliced to David’s standards. This is a man who, many years ago, founded the Boston Sushi Society. He examined the platter, clucked his tongue, and said, “You can’t just randomly be chopping up fish.”
It was my meal, a bento box, that was the most disappointing thing on the table. The salad was fine, and the rice, well, it was rice. Edamame, you can’t go wrong there. The tempura was great — nice and crispy batter, vegetables cooked through, and there was a pleasing variety of them. Where this dish went wrong was with the chicken. It was supposed to be chicken teriyaki, but these were more like rubbery strips in a semi-sweet but mostly bland sauce.
Katie and Jordan told us they had never ordered the chicken, opting always for the affordable and decent sushi here. I think next time, I’ll do the same.